Methodology

Bretton Woods, Past and Present: 2. Progress in Economics

Ok, time to deal with the elephant in the room: when is one theory better than the other? What is progress in economics?

Is it not repeating the mistakes of the 1930s? Is it a more refined equilibrium concept? Lower p-values and higher t-statistics? More predictive power? Or is progress in economics simply an intuitive hunch that the present theory is better than the previous one?

If economics were a game of a few high-minded professors, the matter would have little meaning for the rest of us. But economics does profoundly influence every corner of our lives. Thus, if there’s anything students should learn in their proverbial Economics 101, it is what defines progress in economics. Read more

Warren J. Samuels (1933-2011)

On this blog, we like to overstate quite a bit our irreverence towards the establishment and in particular our senior colleagues. Several posts have been written in which we have challenged the prevaling views and methodologies in HET and criticized the way young scholars are sometimes treated with some condescension by more established peers. Yet there is no denying that we are also the products of this establishment that we sometimes take to task. One instance of this relation is that most of the contributors of this blog - if not all of them - have received the Warren J. and Sylvia J. Samuels Young Scholars Award, which allowed us to participate in the HES meeting without having to pay for it - at a time where most of us were graduate or post-graduate students with only meagre stipends. Therefore, it is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of Warren J. Samuels on August 17. Read more

Sheila Dow - Why Economists Think How They Think

Economists argue over how the economy works or what is the best fiscal policy to recover from the current crisis. Sheila Dow looks behind the curtain of these debates; she seeks to find out why particular theories are being advanced, and how economists evaluate the merit of an argument in scientific debate. Click here to watch the video Read more

Sheila Dow - Why Economists Think How They Think

Economists argue over how the economy works or what is the best fiscal policy to recover from the current crisis. Sheila Dow looks behind the curtain of these debates; she seeks to find out why particular theories are being advanced, and how economists evaluate the merit of an argument in scientific debate. Read more

image: 

Randall Wray: Heterodox Thinking and a New Economic Paradigm

In the current post-crisis climate, some heterodox thinkers who were long neglected are being looked at again to inform new economic thinking. One of these thinkers is Hyman Minsky, who even in past times of relative stability thought that there were some fundamental problems with contemporary economics. Read more

J. Doyne Farmer: On the Scientific Method, Computers, and other Revolutions in Economics

Much of today’s economics is based on abstract modeling of complex systems – but a lot of the theories behind the models are overly simplistic, and do not have predictive capabilities. The economics field can do much, much more, according to J. Doyne Farmer, professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Read more

Bruce Caldwell - Why Economics Needs the History of Thought

About the Interview

Who is going to teach fields like economic methodology and the history of economic thought if these fields aren't taught to current graduate students? Bruce Caldwell is filling this hole in the graduate curriculum. The Hayek scholar is ramping-up the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University to educate a generation of future professors – a generation that is well-versed in the history of economic thought, and that communicates with other social sciences and the humanities. These are the seeds of new economic thinking. Read more

image: 

Where the World Economy is Heading - David Hale

In INET's interview with David Hale, he discusses possible economic scenarios of the future that could inspire new thinking.

Neuroeconomics: Fusing Psychology with Economics - David Hale

In part 4 of INET's interview with David Hale, he says that although we are all generally convinced that we are right (even when we are wrong,) the crisis has lead to new thinking and new strategies